26 things in your house that a professional organiser would throw out
An expert organiser shares her list of the top 26 things she’d throw out without a second thought.
The wine opener that never works well enough is just one of the tosses you can make from your utensil drawer. Professional organisers would also ditch the slotted spoons and pancake turners that bend under the weight of food. And add the garlic press that is too delicate to mince a clove of garlic to the toss pile.
If it doesn’t write, then why keep it? Professional organisers always throw out pens that don’t work. They also pitch empty mechanical pencils, eraser-less #2 pencils, and dried out markers and highlighters without caps.
You’ll rarely find a space-hogging phone book in a professional organiser’s home. They also let go of encyclopaedia sets and textbooks; consider donating those. And unless you need the thesaurus and dictionary for playing Scrabble, pass those on, too.
Outdated maps will only get you lost, so professional organisers advise recycling them. Out-of-date travel guides and old brochures are filled with obsolete information, so don’t bother keeping those for a potential future trip either.
While frozen, fresh and canned foods come to mind, these are not the only things in your home that expire. Once they reach their best by date, it’s recommended to throw out medications, vitamins and supplements.
Professional organisers love storage solutions but not every container works well. If the bin, basket or box didn’t solve your problem, then throw it out; otherwise, it just adds to your clutter. Consider passing along storage containers to a teacher who might need them.
Once you’re finished with a hobby, professional organisers advise donating the equipment to someone who will use it. Whether you have woodworking tools, scuba fins, camping gear or a set of watercolours, if you are no longer using it then toss it out of your house.
The VCR and boom box have been replaced with more up-to-date technology, so get rid of the old stuff. Recycle floppy disks and ancient laptops, obsolete phones, VHS tapes and more through an e-waste program.
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All those broken items you have waiting to be fixed; professional organisers either fix it or ditch it and so should you. If you’ve already replaced it, you don’t miss it, or it is too costly to make the repair, there is no sense keeping said item around.
Toss the accessories and instruction booklets that go with things you no longer own, like the tiny bag with a spare button for the blouse you donated and the owner’s manual for the television you had ten years ago.
Even professional organisers keep odd things like those plastic clips from bags of bread or rinsed out glass jars. The key is to know when you are saving too many, and they are becoming clutter. For example, if you’ve kept every rubber band from every fresh produce purchase, then it is time to throw some away.
Try to resist bringing home one of every free item offered at street fairs, lectures and conferences. Professional organisers throw away extra wall calendars, promotional coffee mugs, water bottles plastered with logos, jar openers, pill organisers and the like.
If they’re meant to be mated up and you’ve hopelessly lost or ruined one, then why keep the other?
Professional organisers dislike cleaning tools that don’t get the job done. If the item is meant to help make your cleaning chore easier, but it makes it more difficult, then throw it out. This includes the cracked dustpan, the broken laundry basket, the broom with the handle that keeps falling off and the leaky bucket.
That bag of donations that’s been riding in the trunk of your car for a month, it’s time for it to go. Professional organisers have a standing pick-up scheduled, or they routinely drop things off at a donation location to prevent them from piling up at home.
Just because it has your name engraved on it does not mean you have to keep it forever. Professional organisers preserve the memory by taking a photo of the accolade, then they donate the trophies, plaques, or awards of excellence through sports medal recycling programs.
Dust collectors are without a doubt on any professional organiser’s throw it out list. These include photo frames without photographs inside, collections you don’t care about and knickknacks that lack a very special meaning.
The treadmill you used for a week that’s now a makeshift clothes rack or the green smoothie maker you tried once and haven’t touched since – give away those items you purchased with the hopes of making a change, but the change didn’t stick.
If you search online for culinary inspiration then you can let go of almost all, if not all, of your cookbooks. Recipes are everywhere and most times we end up falling back on our go-to recipes. See if your local library accepts cookbooks for their book sales.
Torn or bent to/from tags are promptly recycled by professional organisers and the crushed bows must go! Other items that make the throw it away list are scraps of gift wrap, tangled rolls of ribbon and faded gift bags.
You could not resist that 2 a.m. infomercial and now you’re the owner of the latest craze in kitchen appliances, workshop tools, or some other must-have item that you never use. Professional organisers remind you that keeping the item won’t bring back the money you spent; so it’s best to pass it along to an organisation or friend that will accept it.
You’ll rarely find empty hangers taking up space in a professional organiser’s closet. Clear the clutter by returning the wire ones to the dry cleaners. Then let go of the other unused hangers like the ones with weak clips and the small hangers that don’t slide on the closet bar.
Professional organisers will ask you how many bouquets of fresh flowers do you have out at one time? The answer helps you realise that you don’t need more than two or three vases. Bring the extras to a local florist or fill them with flowers from your garden and gift them to someone.
You won’t find magnets stuck to the refrigerator in a professional organiser’s home. Throw away the ones with weak magnets that keep falling off onto the floor. Then discard the outdated business card ones, the save-the-date ones, and the ones with last year’s calendar.
Expired coupons, old take-out menus and business cards for people you don’t remember need to be tossed or recycled. Let go of the receipts you don’t need, old shopping lists and now-obscure notes you made to yourself.
They call it junk for a reason. Professional organisers immediately recycle unwanted catalogues, flyers and advertisements. While you’re at it, toss the huge stash of greeting cards and return address labels sent to you from charitable organisations.